Daughters Learning from Fathers: Migrant Family Literacies that Mediate Borders

  • Kaia Simon University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Keywords: family literacy, transnational literacy, gender, feminism, Hmong women


Scholarship in literacy and composition studies has demonstrated the significance of family literacy practices, especially as they relate to educational experiences and achievement. Often, the literacies of migrant and refugee families are considered in terms of conflict: conflict within families, and between families and institutions. This article seeks to illuminate spaces where migrant family literacies inspire positive relations, specifically in daughter-father interactions. In this ethnographic study of Hmong women, I show that literacy alters traditional relationships between fathers and daughters, reframes disempowering gender dynamics, and supports daughters’ access to public realms. These literate interactions have lasting effects throughout daughters’ lives as they pursue education, professions, and political advocacy opportunities.

Author Biography

Kaia Simon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kaia L. Simon is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her current research explores the role of literacy in migrant women’s lives.